Today's edition features in living color a marijuana plant with the headline, "Blowing smoke: Pot measure called 'plan' to help Crist beat Scott," written by the great Tribune political reporter William March.
It's an extremely provocative photo followed by a provocative headline, but as you read the story you realize the reality-that the perception that liberals will flock to the polls because they support medical marijuana (or just marijuana, period) more than conservatives and thus this will boost Crist's electoral chances, is simply poppycock.
As March reports, there is certainly that perception out there. But the bare truth was revealed earlier this week from the Public Policy Polling survey. The poll showed 65 percent of Floridians asked support the medical marijuana initiative, while 23 percent oppose (down from an earlier poll that showed 82 percent of Floridians support the measure).
Juxtapose that with the governor's race, where the screaming headline was the fact that Rick Scott is now in a virtual statistical tie with Charlie Crist, with the Democrat up 43-41 percent. Obviously if the initiative was drawn up solely to bring more support to Crist to the race (a charge made in the piece by GOP political consultant Alex Patton), it ain't working.
It is true that younger people who generally don't participate in off-year elections are prone to get more involved at the ballot box when such measures are on the ballot. But it's up to Democrats to somehow stimulate those potential voters to look at the other down-ballot choices, because for a variety of reasons some of those voters may not be engaged at all in those partisan races. Or in fact, could be young Republicans or Libertarians. It's only January and we still don't even know if the medical marijuana measure will be on the ballot, but hopefully this paranoid theory about an effort to clandestinely put Crist back in the governor's mansion will now be taken off the table.
In the news - Democrats in Tallahassee are trying to make an issue out of the problems with the state's unemployment website, CONNECT. Yesterday several of them blasted Governor Scott for being out of touch with the concerns of everyday Floridians because of his lack of urgency on the issue.
In Tampa, a task force released a report on the Police Department's troubled DUI unit, and guess what? Ain't no real problem at all, despite those bad things you read about in the paper last year.
And speaking of Tampa Police, they have been making arrests on the homeless over the past year, as a new ordinance passed that cracked down on panhandling makes its intended impact.